The Chicago Teachers Union has collectively decided that a sixteen percent pay raise in an economy where 23 million people are looking for work isn’t enough. Public school teachers in Chicago are currently among the highest paid in the nation, with an average annual pay of $71,000, before benefits.
Seriously -- Chicago teachers walked away from a sixteen percent pay raise, because it wasn’t enough. Sixteen percent!
At the same time, Chicago public school students are among the most undereducated in the country. Which leads to the question: What are these teachers being paid for? This week, apparently they’re being paid to shop for red shirts and to not teach.
The teachers just want things to be fair. I’m not sure how ignoring your students to strike in the street to protest a measly sixteen percent pay raise while not improving your job performance is fair, but whatever.
Karen Lewis, the president of the union, has called Mayor Rahm Emanuel a bully and a liar for calling for accountability for the teachers and a 41-minute longer school day. As many as 6,000 teachers may lose their jobs if they are evaluated based on performance, which is apparently a bad thing in Chicago. In the real world, you get fired if you do a crappy job, but in Illinois you go on strike because your raise wasn’t big enough.
The Chicago Teachers Union is giving great teachers a bad name. No one goes into teaching for the money … it’s a difficult, time-consuming, mostly underappreciated job. The hope is that teachers go into teaching because they love kids and want to help shape their future. Not so they can protest a massive pay raise in a down economy as not enough.
Maybe it would be different if Chicago schools were flourishing. You get what you pay for, and all that jazz. If they teachers were being underpaid, that would be another matter as well. That was the original intention of unions, after all, to make sure that the working class was not being oppressed or taken advantage of. But Chicago teachers make over twice the average local income of just over $30,000 a year.
Chicago teachers are already overpaid, Chicago students are underperforming, and the Chicago Teachers Union’s demands are unreasonable. This is not about the students and what’s best for them, this is about a teachers’ union demanding more than its fair share.
Image via firedoglakedotcom/Wikimedia Commons